United Nations: External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj has underscored the need to combat terrorism in her multilateral meetings and sent a “very strong” signal to Pakistan to stop using it as an instrument of state policy, her spokesperson has said.
Swaraj, who is currently in New York to attend the annual UN General Assembly Session, held a series of multilateral meetings, including with leaders of BRICS, IBSA, SAARC and India-CELAC. BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) is a five-member grouping and IBSA (India, Brazil and South Asia) a three-member bloc, whereas ICELAC stands for Community of Latin American and Caribbean States.
“In almost all the multilateral engagements which EAM (External Affairs Minister) had, a reference to the counter-terrorism has been a common thread in most of the press releases and statements. This is something which has come out very strongly,” External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Raveesh Kumar told reporters here yesterday.
“EAM herself in her speech did come down heavily on terror groups operating with support system by other countries. It is basically a very strong signal to Pakistan to stop using terrorism as an instrument of state policy, stop giving sanctuaries to known terrorist outfits that are recognised by the United Nations,” Kumar said. Swaraj also called for disruption of terrorist networks and terror financing, he said.
In addition to attending the tri-lateral meeting, Swaraj also had meetings with her counterparts from Kyrgyzstan and Argentina. Late in the evening, she also attended a dinner hosted by the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group. In the BRICS meeting, the leaders “reaffirmed the commitment for the full implementation” of the Xiamen declaration as well as the outcomes of the past summits.
“This is very significant,” he said, adding that a joint statement issued later referenced to Security Council reforms. “There was an agreement for the need for a comprehensive reform of the United Nations Security Council and to increase representation of developing countries,” Kumar said. BRICS ministers had a very strong language formulation on terrorism, including adoption of comprehensive convention on international terrorism CCIT, he said, adding that role of BRICS counter terrorism group was also highlighted.
At the IBSA meeting, which was chaired by Swaraj herself, she mentioned that terrorism was a threat to the world. “All the countries, who are part of this grouping they agreed with this nature of threat. We did announce at the IBSA Foreign Ministry meeting that India will be hosting the sixth IBSA summit in 2018,” Kumar said.
After BRICS and IBSA, Swaraj also attended a luncheon with her counterparts from all the members of SAARC nations. During the meeting, Swaraj gave an account of the initiatives which have been launched by India as part its regional policy, he said. “We mentioned South Asia satellite, we did mention the South Asian University and also the progress which has been made on SAARC disaster management center. We also highlighted energy and connectivity as major issues,” Kumar said.
“Again, EAM flagged terrorism as a scourge, which should be eliminated and also urged that the ecosystem that sustains terrorism should end,” Kumar said. He, however, did not give an account of the reaction from Pakistan and other SAARC member countries on this. “However, there is commonality of agreement regarding terrorism as a scourge as a threat to humankind. At this stage I don’t have the details of what the foreign minister of Pakistan spoke of doing that meeting,” he said.
Swaraj, thereafter, co-chaired a meeting of India-CLAC which is basically an outreach India has towards the Latin American and Caribbean countries. Participants included El Salvador as the co-chair, Dominican Republic, Grenada and Mexico. At the beginning, one minute’s silence was observed for the victims of the recent hurricanes in the region. “We proposed cooperation in sectors like renewable energy cooperation, space cooperation, Three broad sectors were discussed, trade and investment and climate change and we also saw their support for the international Solar Alliance,” Kumar said.